The following is my official Yom Ha-Atzmaut message to the Jewish people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Today must be a day of great rejoicing, as it commerorates the founding of the state of Israel, the beginnings of our redemption. But many British Jews have difficulty relating to Israel. They have made comfortable and pleasant lives for themselves in this country. I myself am very comfortable in St John’s Wood.
While no right thinking person would be seduced by fashionable ‘anti-zionism’, it is at the same time difficult to feel the strength of connection to our holy land. This is particularly because Israelis can be rather loud and ‘uncouth’; very different to the grace and manners of us Jewish Englishmen. Can you imagine some Sabra enjoying a day at Lords? I rest my case. It can also be difficult to obtain the required standard of living in Israel today. The price of a large house at the top of Haifa is now beyond most salaries, while with the increasing prosperity of Bedouins it has become difficult to get the staff.
Instead of focusing on Eretz Yisrael, I feel we need to look inwards, and so I propose renaming this day Yom Ha-Galut, or Diaspora Day. To celebrate this we should organise offical events, such as a ceremony on Primrose Hill and a procession of Limousines down the Finchley Road . Dancing in the street would be a little vulgar, but no doubt we could hire out some palatial Sephardic venue in Maida Vale for the festivities.
More importantly though, we should use the day as a period of reflection, to consider some of the many issues Jews in Britain need to deal with. I am particularly worried at the gulf between the leaders of anglo-Jewry and young people. As chief rabbi, I want to build a bridge, to reach out a hand to the younger generation of British Jews. As I wrote about in my famous book The Dignity of Difference, (Continuum £10.99, don’t mention the first edition) sometimes one has to reach out to those who are not like you. Therefore, I am teaming up with my new friends at Jewdas to build a new approach, or as I like to put it ‘get down with the kids’. Like David Cameron, I plan to make many changes. I too, believe in the power of cycling, so I intend to be driven round London in a rickshaw. This could be considered a security risk, but to deal with this I will be placing snipers in all major thoroughfares. These should also prove handy for dealing with Ken Livingstone. Secondly, I also believe that David has led the way in the greater inclusion of women. Now obviously I won’t be introducing women into the rabbinate, as this would be ridiculous, however I do intend to give the United Synagogue a ‘feminine makeover’ in which all rabbis, dayanim and officers will be issued with regulation skirts and blouses.
As part of my new alliance with Jewdas, they have asked me to mention that they have some new content on their (frankly incomprhensible) website. There are articles about Michael Howard, Likud, radical seders in Radlett, my plans for extra mechitzas and the wonderful Aish Ha Torah. There’s even an article about some rabbi who called himself a pacifist. Probably he was gay. Some of their ideas seem a bit off the wall, even for a radical like me, but they have assured me that their only agenda is to make more Jewish babies. I am particularly pleased that Jewdas is forming their own Beth Din, which hopefully will prove to be a rival to the horrible London Beth Din which gives me so much trouble. Dayan Ehrentreu. What a cunt.
So that’s all from me, happy diaspora day, and hope to see you in a synagogue soon. Preferably my synagogue. And buy my books. And laugh at my jokes. Please.
Rabbi Jonathan Sex
Chief Rabbi of Great Britan, the Commonwealth, the Colonies, the Raj, Rhodesia , Asia Minor and the North Pole.